New format this year. I am writing the thought jumble and then refining it, Distilling it down to a small poem. Verbiage Distillation.
Trying a new approach to this poetry challenge, planner this time instead of pantser. Letting the words unfurl in a jumble and then cooking them down to their essence. Distilling to obtain the soul of the thought flow. Here goes. Poem 01 of 30…
Have you ever summited something to a contest and the announcement date was so far in the future that you forgot you ever participated? Yeah. Me too.
Back in 2019, after having some of my Mobile Photo Manipulation pieces in art shows, I saw a post about the MPA, Mobile Photo Awards and I put some of my work in because, why not.
After a pot of coffee the other day, I ran a search of my name online. Which you should occasionally do because weirdness gets attached to your name when you’re “out there” in cyber world. I’m not talking about you Grizzly Adams who lives off the grid to hide from the brain frying 5G emissions that can penetrate your tin foil hat. And Griz, you won’t read this post anyway, unless you log on at an internet café that lets you skulk around on Torch to see if your ex has posted any of “those” photos from back when you were entwined. I’m talking to the rest of you, Google yourself and laugh, cry or be freaked out by what comes up as parts and pieces of you.
I digress. So, I Googled myself and a couple pages back there was this link to winners of the MPA 9th Annual Awards with my name connected. WHAT THE FRACK? Click….. scroll… WHAT THE ACTUAL FRACK? There it was.
One of my photos was in the Honorable Mentions Visual FX category. 5,700 entries total. Each of the twenty categories had one grand prize and 30 honorable mentions. Not gonna lie. That was pretty cool to be recognized amongst that giant murder of Mobile Photographer crows.
I never would have known if I hadn’t consumed mass quantities of caffeine and had some free time to waste. Really, they didn’t call. Didn’t write. No flowers. No fruit sculpture deliveries preserved with chemicals to keep them looking “fresh” for weeks.
Had to laugh because it was my photo I had done from an Architectural Boat Tour of Chicago in Spring 2019. I had photographed the Trump Tower and then transformed it into a graphic novel style image I called, Fortress of Evil. True story. There it is-
I’ve got poems and writing that I have sent to competitions in Ireland various and sundry sites now awaiting judgement. I should probably keep track of that stuff. Like a lot of creatives, my super power is in creating and not in organizing and following up. S’pose I should work on that. Soon. Ish.
Here’s the link I stumbled onto in my navel gazing web search-
Stop what you’re doing and open up another tab to Google search yourself right now. Tell me the weirdest thing associated with your name.
Not you, Griz. I don’t have enough bleach to clean my eyeballs after seeing whatever the heck that was in your photos.
In 2016, the New York Times ran an article about Bob Dylan’s unprecedented win of a Nobel Prize in Literature for his body of work as poet/songwriter. While many understood the award and found it long overdue, some critics laid waste to the choice with some interesting words.
From the NYT 2016 article- “Bob Dylan winning the Nobel in Literature is like Mrs. Fields winning a Michelin star.” said novelist, Rabih Alameddine.
First, who the hell is Rabih Alameddine? In my many decades on planet Earth, I have never heard that person’s name. I had to look him up and now that I know who he is, I’m still not intrigued enough to search out his work.
Dylan? Oh, yeah. I know who he is. As does most of the world. I’ve been aware of him since the mid-1960’s when my mind was freshly opened to music and words and his lyrics filled my imagination.
Years after hearing, “And she aches just like a woman, but she breaks like a little girl.” forgetting that its inspiration was that slice of lyric, I wrote an essay that included this, “I am a very smart woman but my heart is a stupid teenage girl.” Still accurate and confessional. Dylan leaks through my consciousness at interesting times.
Poetry or song lyrics are to me the same thing but one has been lit on fire with music. Are they literature?
lit·er·a·ture/ˈlidərəCHər,ˈlidərəˌCHo͝or/Learn to pronouncenoun
- written works, especially those considered of superior or lasting merit. ‘a great work of literature.’
By this definition, yes. They are, without a doubt literature. And moreso, the easy consumption of these carefully cultivated words make for a palatable introduction to word crafting beyond the world textbook and technical writing we must absorb to complete our educations. Can you argue against it? I’d like to hear that debate.
For many, poems and song lyrics are the first introduction to the art of writing for pleasure; creating something that allows emotion to have its way with us.
Poems and lyrics are words we absorb by choice. Some repeatedly so we can savor their existence like fine chocolate melting on our tongues.
These, smaller than a novel, meals of words have the same lasting impact as a well written book. Their place in our world is spotlighted whenever large moments happen. Amanda Gorman, reading her stellar poem The Hill We Climb, at President Biden’s inauguration drove that home again for me and others this past January. You’d have to have a small, cold, narrow-minded heart to have heard this young women and not be deeply moved by her words.
We writers of short things, word ninjas, are sharpening our imagination. Readying our pens for a run at channeling bottled lightning onto the page next month. And in the end, we won’t do it for the reader. It’s really just for us. A private moment when we win the game of rearranging 26 letters, over and over again until we’ve built a small word castle where we can walk around for a bit admiring the view.
If you’re a lover of poems, try these. Japanese Death Poems. A collection of haiku and poems written by Zen Monks and Samurai just before their death. Their own brief farewell to the world. The stark beauty will keep you reading and re-reading to be with them one more time.
From Zen Master Ichikyo at his death on February 12, 1360-
Empty-handed I entered the world
Barefoot I leave it
my coming- my going
two simple happenings
that got entangled
Where do the inspirations arrive from, who gets to catch them and what will they do with them? The answer my friend is blowing in the wind… as it always has.
And I’ll be out there waiting for the words to come, knowing that no matter how many words line up, it is literature. It is the stuff of human dreaming. Worth the work… See you in the word field.
32 days away. That’s the countdown to NaPoWriMo 2021. April is National Poetry Writing Month and I’ll be joining thousands of poets from around the world in the 30 Poems in 30 Days challenge again.
It’s an interesting endeavour to force yourself to go deep and listen for a few shining words to craft a little offering to the ethers. Like speed dating, readers/followers blast through the poems posted, plucking flowers here and there to stop and admire.
Last April, while I was writing in isolation with my family way at the top of the Leelanau Peninsula where I live, someone from a Poetry Site in the U.K. saw one of my poems and reached out to invite me to be in their NaPoWriMo2020 Anthology, available here:
I’m doing my pen lifts and my speed word gathering. Got my eagle eyes in and my super hearing tuned up. I’m ready. 30 Poems in 30 Days? Bring it.
Cosmic Detention or Contemplating the Universe Beneath a Dark Sky. And No, I’m Not High
the reason we haven’t had a recent visit from extraterrestrials
is because we just aren’t ready for them.
this planet is a giant playpen
with high sides on our technology
so we won’t climb out
and stick our fingers
Socket Of Creation
and break it
we need a few more millenia
to winnow out our aggression
and our massive egos
before the Galactic Babysitters
will consider taking us
on a deep space field trip
they already left behind
a whole lot of evidence of their earlier visits-
before humanity grew into
an out of control
hormonal cluster of adolescents
who perpetuate the myths
that only males should rule the planet
and colors should be sorted into
and myths like animals are food
and that one group’s religious superhero
could beat up another groups religious superhero
many light years out
there’s a perimeter warning that reads:
INHABITANTS CANNOT BE TRUSTED TO MAKE GOOD CHOICES
They’re right you know.
We aren’t ready
So here we sit
drumming fingers on our desks
waiting for the door to open
that let’s us out of Cosmic Detention
Night Vigil by Mimi DiFrancesca
On the last night of his life
My father asked to see the stars
So I lifted his frail weight into the chair
And wheeled him out the door-
Beneath the Phoenix midnight sky
His cloudy eyes looked up
To soak in the vast dome of wonder-
A million points of light awaited him
Visible, even hindered by the street lights
His old friends were waiting still
Like they had so long ago
When he ran through an Illinois field
His brothers at his side
Surely, like they did as he stood on deck
To cross the channel of black water
That brought his different brothers
to the shore of Normandy
Even then, those same shining friends
As promise of more-
And on that last night of July
Beneath the desert sky
He took one last look
Certain then the stars were true
Forever holding their celestial vigil
Witnessing the lives
Of every being
Across the universe
Of something more.
My Full Moon Face
you think you know me
because you can stand in a certain spot
on a particular day
at a specific time of night
if the sky is clear
you can find me shining again
at a determined declination
and right ascension
you think you know me because
a few times each year
you can see
my full moon face
you think you know me
because you’ve studied what I’m made of
and ascertained the orbit of my life
the least of me
and then, only for fleeting moments
on occasional sightings
the rest of me
hidden from your view
is the most of me
you think you know me-
you don’t know
what I get up to
in the collective
of the immeasurable